Research Group of TRP Channels in Vision and Pain
My investigations have created a new field of research. I co-discovered a new type of ion channel, which I designated the Transient Receptor Potential or in short the TRP channel, as a result of my studies on phototransduction and vision in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). I investigated the biophysical and biochemical properties of TRP channels in fruit fly eyes and identified together with the late Prof. Zvi Selinger phospholipase C as a crucial component of the Drosophila TRP signaling pathway. The principles that we found are common to numerous sensory (e.g. temperature, pain and taste sensations) and motor systems (properties of Purkinje neurons in the cerebellum), thus laying the foundation for the study of molecules that underlie mechanisms of TRP and pain, originally initiated by Prof. David Julius. Today we have extended our research to the first identified loss of function mutation in human TRPV1 channel that govern at least several of the human body's regulatory processes related inflammatory pain and to noxious heat detection. Our major aim is to decipher the critical roles of TRP channels in invertebrate vision and of TRPV1 in human somatosensory physiology.